Briusov, Valery Biography

biography of Briusov, Valery

Bryusov, Valeri Nikolayevich
13 December 1873, Moscow, Russia
9 October 1924, Moscow, Russia
Valeri Briusov was a Russian writer, poet, dramatist, critic, and historian. He was one of the founders of Symbolist movement in Russia. He was born Valeri Yakovlevich Briusov on December 13, 1873, in Moscow, Russia. His grandfather, Aleksandr Bakulin, was a poet, and his father, Yakov Briusov, was a wealthy merchant who also published his poems and stories. Young Briusov grew up in a trilingual environment, he spoke French and German in addition to his native Russian. He received an excellent private education; from 1885-1889 he studied at private Gymnasium of F.I. Kreiman, from 1890-1893 he studied at private Gymnasium of L.I. Polivanov and was acting in several school plays. At that time Briusov was romantically involved with a young and beautiful lady, Elena Kraskova. Her sudden death in 1893 caused him an emotional trauma, and Briusov expressed himself in writing. He wrote poetry and drama, as well as translated from English, French and German literature. In 1893 he wrote his first drama, "The Dekadents (End of a Century)". At that time Briusov wrote a letter to Paul Verlain and presented himself as a founder of Symbolism in Russia. From 1892-1899 Briusov studied history and literature at Moscow University. After graduation in 1899, Briusov became a professional writer, literary translator, and critic. He joined the Moscow Literary-Artistic Society which was the center of emerging new styles and trends during the time known as the "Silver Age" of Russian culture. Briusov was involved in formation of Symbolism and Neo-Classicism in Russian literature and Arts, and later he saw emergence of Acmeism, Russian Modern, Cubo-Futurism and other avant-garde movements. Briusov himself tried a variety of styles in his numerous poems, albeit his best achievements belong to Symbolism and Neo-Classicism. From 1904-1906 he was editor of magazines "Vesy" (The Balance) and "Severnye Tsvety" (Nothern Flowers), and also worked with the "Skorpion" publishing house. His poetry ranged from sophisticated eroticism to mythology, legends, and epic subjects. During the 1900s Briusov's own view of the World was influenced by the situation of "fin de siecle." He expressed his feelings of "End of Time" in his novel "Ognenny Angel" (aka.. The Fiery Angel), set in Germany, delivers a plethora of allusions to modern time, through an artful blend of love story with history, occult philosophy, and mysticism. It was adapted into eponymous opera by 'Sergei Prokofiev' (qv). Briusov expressed his premonitions about inevitable collapse of urbanized civilization; he described industrialization as a collective suicide of humankind. Briusov's metaphoric language became even more sharp and passionate, as he described himself as a "slave of bourgeois culture" but was still hopelessly addicted to pleasures of his hedonistic and "classy" lifestyle. In such poems as "Kamenshchik" (aka.. The Mason), "Umirayushchii koster" (aka.. Dying Fire), and his book of prose "Zemnaya Os" (aka.. The Earth's axis), Briusov pictured various ways out of trappings of civilization, such as going back to nature and organic way of life, or suffer through revolutionary changes of a decadent society. In real life Briusov became a military correspondent during the World War I, then suffered from a nervous breakdown, after he witnessed cruel realities of war and death. His sci-fi novel "Gora zvezdy" (aka.. Star's Mountain), stories "Vosstanie Mashin" (aka.. Uprising of Machines, 1908) and "Myatezh Mashin" (aka.. Revolt of Mashines, 1914) show his emergence as a sci-fi writer and departure from illusionary world of pure Symbolism. After the Russian revolution of 1917, Briusov was appointed Head of Committee for Press and Publishing, then worked as Head of Moscow Public Libraries under Commissar 'Anatoli Lunacharsky' (qv). In 1919 Briusov was recommended to join the Communist Party, a recommendation he could not object at the time of dictatorship. From 1919-1921 he was Chairman of Union of Poets, then from 1921-1923 he was director of Moscow Institute of Literature and Arts. Briusov edited the first edition of the Soviet Encyclopedia. He made definitive translations of works by 'Edgar Allan Poe (I)' (qv), Emile Verharn, 'Maurice Maeterlinck' (qv), Paul Verlain, 'Romain Rolland' (qv), 'Victor Hugo (I)' (qv), 'Lord Byron' (qv) and 'Oscar Wilde' (qv), among others. Briusov's complete translations of "Dr. Faust" by 'Johann Wolfgang Goethe' (qv) and "Aeneid" by Virgil belong among the highest achievements of literary translation into Russian. Briusov revealed the beauty of Armenian poetry in his numerous translations, he published a comprehensive book "Poetry of Armenia", a fundamental collection of Armenian poetry. For his Russian translation of Armenian folk epic "Sasuntsi David" (aka.. David of Sasuntsi), about the national hero of the Armenian people, Briusov was designated Poeple's Poet of Armenia (1923). Valeri Briusov eventually came to disillusionment with the Soviet reality after witnessing rapid degradation of culture under the rule of Soviet Communists. Since the 1900s Briusov indirectly opposed 'V.I. Lenin' (qv) and wrote that Revolution causes destruction but fails to create a better world, in return 'V.I. Lenin' (qv) labeled Briusov as "poet-anarchist." During 1920-1924, when many of his friends emigrated, Briusov expressed disappointment with his life after the Soviet revolution. Briusov wrote that he was torn between his naive hopes in revolution, and the truth that the Russian revolution caused terrible losses and destruction, but did not deliver on the promise of social justice and freedom. The unfolding drama of totalitarian dictatorship and grim reality of the Soviet Communism caused Briusov a depression and a serious illness. He was found dead in his Moscow apartment on October 9, 1924, and was laid to rest in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, Russia. 'Maxim Gorky' (qv) called Briusov "the most refined intellectual" of all Russian writers of his time. Briusov was the leader of Russian Symbolism during the cultural revival known as "Silver Age" along with such authors as 'Konstantin Balmont', Aleksandr Blok, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Andrei Bely, 'Dmitri Merezhkovsky' (qv), and 'Zinaida Gippius' (qv), among others. Briusov's collection of poetry "Venok" (aka.. The Wreth) belongs among the highest achievements in Russian literature.
Steve Shelokhonov

All Pictures

Pictures of Briusov, Valery not found
Images Search Powered By Google

Watch Online Related Videos

Briusov, Valery Videos


  1. Ispoved neznakomtsu (1995) (story "Posledniye stranitsy iz dnevnika zhenschiny")
  2. The Fiery Angel (1993) (TV) (novel)
  3. Zakhochu - polyublyu (1990) (novel)
  4. Ognisty aniol (1986) (novel)
  5. Zhizn v smerti (1914)